Saturday, November 27, 2010

Memories of an Awkward Youth Part 1

I relate to both of my kids in different ways, but they couldn’t be more opposite. Maybe it’s my polarizing forces from being a Gemini. Maybe I’m just bipolar. Who knows?

My sons don’t even look alike. One looks like Andy and one looks like my mom. We remind him of that every chance we get, because what 10 year old doesn’t want to look like their grandmother? Their personalities couldn’t be further apart. One is crafty, cocky and popular with the kids in his class, and the other is quiet, awkward and socially inept. Between the two, they cover the evolution I have gone through in life.

I was always able to make friends easily growing up, but I was my own worst-enemy. I guess that part hasn’t changed much. When I was in second grade, we moved out of the city and in to the suburbs. My first day of school was near Valentine’s Day, and my sister was in Kindergarten. I was walking down the hall by myself and noticed there were hearts on the bulletin boards, decorated by my peers. One of them had fallen off the board and was laying on the floor. I can’t tell you what went through my mind at the time, but I thought it would be a good idea to take it and give it to my sister as a gift to tell her I was thinking about her on her first day at school.

Here’s where it went wrong:

I didn’t fully erase the name of the kid who actually made the valentine before I added my own message of adoration. And then I actually took it to her teacher to give to her, whose classroom happened to be down the hall from the bulletin board where the other 30 valentines of the same style were hanging. So, my first day at my new school, I was hauled in to the principals office to explain where I had gotten the present for my sister.

What did I learn from this childhood blunder? The boy whose valentine I stole and had to later apologize to in writing, probably never dated me because of it. That, and use a better eraser.

In all fairness, the same boy, Joe, gave up a recess to teach me how to stand on my head… and a first crush was born. A boy-craziness that lingered, mostly unreturned for the next 10 years. And it took me about that long to start to figure out how to attract the opposite sex.

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